Women's Basketball Blog From Overseas - Day 2
Day 2 (September 3)
After a non-stop first day I think we all pretty much fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows.
We awoke around 8-8:30 a.m., and had breakfast in the hotel at 9 a.m. Some of the food offerings where a bit different such as boiled whole tomatoes, brie cheese, sliced prosciutto, omelets with swiss cheese and bread. Lots and lots of bread; baguettes, sliced bread, croissants, chocolate croissants, scones, etc.
We also learned quickly that people here like to pack it in on the elevators. If you think an elevator is full, guess again. Before you know it 3-4 more people are cramming in. Another thing that surprised most of us is the smoking. We figured Parisians smoked, but it’s unreal, EVERYONE smokes. The secondhand smoke can nearly gag you. We wonder if they don't have much health messaging about the effects of smoking here or people just don't care.
After breakfast we took the Metro to Montmarte. The rules at the Basilica of the Sacré Couer were stricter than at the Notre Dame. No photos, no talking and no shorts. Afterwards we strolled around the village and bought some art and t-shirts.
We had pre-game meal at a restaurant near our hotel around 2:30 p.m. Bread of course was waiting on the tables. Salads came with button mushrooms, sliced peppers, black olives, tomato, tuna and anchovies – a bit different than your average house salad in America. Our main course, pasta, was cooked to perfection.
We had about 20 minutes to change and depart for our game at the Halle G. Carpentier Center at Mairie De Paris against the Lyon Basketball Feminine.
Brief Game Recap
Lyon 73, Princeton 53
We had our first game today against Lyon, a member of the Ligue Feminine de Basketball (LFB), the top professional league in the country. Their top player, Audrey Sauret, is a former member of the France National Team and the WNBA. Leslie Ardon played at Seton Hall and was quick under the basket to get o-boards and the second-chance looks. Chaeline Servage didn’t miss a three-point basket during warm-ups and it was her go-to during the game.
We were surprised during warm-ups that the other team wore one-piece skirted uniforms, similar to what you might find on a female tennis player in America. And they were pink. They told us they were apprehensive about the uniform when the league switched to them a couple of years ago but that they aren’t constrictive so during the game you don’t even notice them.
It was the first time we have played together as a team since the NCAA Tournament in March, and things look promising. The Lyon team was a very good team. Every single player on the floor could shoot, and their ball movement was impressive. We played better after halftime (shooting over 50%) and never showed signs of slowing. Alex and Laura both led the team with 11 points with both having three three-pointers. Devona had eight rebounds while Kristen had seven rebounds.
“As a coaching staff we couldn’t be happier with playing such a high level team to start off the season,” head coach Courtney Banghart said. “Not only did they have exceptional players individually, but they ran their stuff and ran it really well. They were great in and out of screens and we hope to learn a lot from this game. Given that we haven’t played 5v5 since March it was great to see our kids adjust to their pressure and create good looks out of the few continuities we’ve given them up to this point. It was a 40-minute battle and our kids did exactly that. I’m really pleased with how physical our bigs played inside and we ran the floor hard on both ends the entire game. This is one small step, but how this group adjusted and how hard they played could be a sign of good things to come.”
After the game we had the chance to spend some time with the other team and will play them again tomorrow afternoon.
We had an hour back at our hotel before we left for team dinner. I don’t think any of us knew what we were getting ourselves into. It wasn’t just dinner – it was an experience. Besides the food being amazing, they had an accordion and guitar player who were both comedians. They played and sang, and got the entire restaurant to sing certain songs. They pulled Coach Flores, Devona, Niveen and Kristen up to dance and sing. They also sang happy birthday to Megan Griffith, our director of basketball operations, who celebrates her birthday tomorrow. (Happy Birthday Meg!)
Such a great day! Can’t wait to see what awaits us tomorrow.
Q&A with Senior Laura Johnson
What was the biggest difference in playing rules between NCAA and FIBA, the international rules you played today?
Personally, traveling calls. Getting called for plays that normally aren’t traveling and not being called for it when you are. You just had to think about the rules when you were out there.
What was it like to play together as a team for the first time this season?
It felt good to be back. It was nice to be on the court playing together. It definitely showed that we hadn’t played in a while and we need a little more time to be the team we were at the end of last season.
What did you think of Lyon’s style of play?
They could all shoot, which is very European. There was less contact and more finesse around the rim. They also doubled the post, which made us have to adjust.
Would you rather play by the FIBA rules you played by today, or wear a skirted uniform like Lyon?
I couldn’t take myself seriously as a player or a person in that uniform, so I’d have to say the rules. (24-second shot clock and four 10-minute quarters are just a few of the FIBA rules).
What plays did Lyon draw up that you think you’d like to incorporate into your own game?
In general they were constantly moving and setting screens. We need to get ourselves open through screening and make the defense think by navigating the screening.